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The Daytona 500 was a Good Show That was Sort of Ruined by Commercials

February 25th, 2013 at 8:07 PM
By Mark Eddinger

Yesterday's Daytona 500 received overnight TV ratings that were the best since 2006. Those who tuned in got to see what was a pretty darn good Daytona 500. That was if there was not a commercial playing when they turned over to FOX.

'Daytona 500 50th' photo (c) 2008, sergio_leenen - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In all, the race broadcast from the invocation to the checkered flag was 209 minutes. Of that time 66 minutes or 31.5 percent of the broadcast was commercials. As a hardcore race fan this was very upsetting. Yes, commercials pay the bills but when the race is under green, I don't want to be missing chunks of the real action.

For some reason, it seemed like the Daytona 500 was constantly under a commercial break yesterday. I don't know if everyone who watched from start to finish felt that way but I did and I was becoming very annoyed. In all 138 commercials played. Of those 138, 15 were split screen where the race was kept live in the upper right hand corner while a commercial played over the rest of the screen.

That is a feature TNT has used for their July broadcast of the Daytona race for the past few seasons, and ESPN did it last year during Chase races in the second half of races. On Sunday when the split screen was utilized, which was only for eight of the 66 minutes, and in those other instances I have loved it. No green flag racing is missed.

I think it is time that NASCAR looks into going to this permanently. One reason why some people won't tune into a three-and-a-half hour race is that they will have to watch too many commercials. Yes, the NASCAR commercials with drivers in them are usually funny and entertaining, but the viewers don't need to see them a million times. I would almost rather just TiVo or DVR the race and watch it later so I can finish the whole broadcast in about two hours. 

That is not what NASCAR should be wanting their fans to do. They should want their fans to enjoy the experience of sitting down and watching a race in live time. Whatever NASCAR and the broadcast stations need to do to try to get the split screen on for more of the race, is something that in my opinion needs to happen. 

There were parts of the Daytona 500 yesterday where I felt like they ran 15 green flag laps and I only saw about five of them. That is not good and needs to be changed.

Tags: daytona 500, Motorsports, NASCAR

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